ragtags studio central: sarah's random this & that

random means "having no definite aim or purpose," (1655), taken from "at random" (1565), "at great speed" (thus, "carelessly, haphazardly"). In 1980s college student slang, it somehow, and sadly, acquired a distinct sense of "inferior, undesirable." (Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper) Well, okay, fine, Mr. Online Etymology Dictionary person, but THIS is the 21st Century. It's a whole new ball of wax.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

whenever two or more of you

Ours is a family which collects ideas to be implemented at numerous parties with a fervor equal to that of those who collect antique fishing equipment, vintage glass Christmas tree ornaments, or pristine copies of original Dave Brubeck recordings.

Various members of the Colorado Gerety tribe can frequently be found gathered together (“having a party”) discussing past, finalizing present, and planning future shenanigans (according to the Gerety family dictionary - currently unpublished - shenanigans are loosely defined as “Irish hullabaloos”) over cocktails (see footnote 1) and tasty snacks. Our party planning (and execution) runs the gamut, from a nearly yearly Midwinter Holidays soirée, (see footnote 2) to which all and sundry are invited, to our slightly more intimate weekly get-togethers, known as Tradition (see footnotes 3 & 4). (Colin argued, singularly and unsuccessfully, that “Tradition” needed to “stand the test of time”, somehow come to deserve the appellation. Several years down the line, he has conceded that, no misnomer, it does, and always did.) Our planning expertise has improved immeasurably since that fateful year when we made no plans at all, neglected the shopping and the empty state of kitchen cupboards and enjoyed a most hastily concocted Thanksgiving dinner created from a few odd items found at the only open convenience store in town and another year when, not having gone for a Christmas tree, we wrapped lights around Sierra-Marie.

Christmas Eve celebrations are lovely fun. Everyone's invited. We sled, or hike, or go to the movies. Home again, there’s a signature cocktail to try out. We have a dance party, get a fire roaring in the fireplace and write letters to Santa to end the day. Once everyone has finished writing, we toss the letters into the fire for quick delivery to the North Pole. On Christmas morning, everyone has stockings together in the biggest bed.

We have planned, hosted and/or personally reveled in several wedding bashes (which included either an auxiliary softball game or beach sing-a-long, fun “do”s on their own merit), innumerable birthday parties (kids are crazy about cooking parties where they make the cake) (see footnote 5), and of course, Thanksgivings. One recent Thanksgiving Weekend was typical. Originally designated as “guests” we, due to unforeseen circumstances, ended up co-hosting, cooking and decorating for nearly 30, after driving all night and two hours sleep. Thanksgiving Day ended with Colin and a small gang of our nieces, nephews and a grandson organizing The Perfect Crime. (Not surprisingly, certain actual crimes can make for excellent parties, too. We think.) Some parties end with an unexpected fillip. Our drive home that Sunday included a blizzard.

For pre-planned occasional fetes and galas large or small, invitations of varying types are extended. Artfully, or at least cleverly, designed invites are stamped, sealed and delivered via post, though last minute telephone and email invitations are considered valid. By contrast, both impromptu and regularly scheduled festivities are usually merely mentioned, and in person, ie. “Tradition is Saturday night this week,” or “Come to our house for a picnic before the fireworks.” Tea simply appears. If you're here, you partake.

Lest you get the wrong impression, I must tell you we are, to a person, more than merely planners, hosts and hostesses. We are avid attenders. From the memorable “costume” party where our family were absolutely the only guests to have been informed it was, in fact, a costume party (yes, well, the joke’s on the Gerety’s, but we all know who laughs best - the ones in the costumes, of course!), to a sauna inauguration, to an elegant, multi-course thank you dinner, we have been most grateful, and we hope, gracious, guests. One late spring evening long ago was spent in good company in a New Mexican hot spring in the Jemez Mountains. A light snow fell all around us, and a million stars twinkled through scattered clouds. The memory of that among other perfect occasions - a recent beach barbecue and bonfire in southern California - late nights that became dawn as we talked and laughed and listened to music, all become essential elements in the mystery of what makes us who we are.

A party can be any size and happen any place. We have walked a few blocks every Sunday for months running to share morning waffles, wine and bridge in the company of dear friends, attended such diverse celebrations as the Dulcimer Debutante Ball and a wedding with two beautiful brides. We (family, extended family and friends) celebrated the home birth of Sebastian by immediately baking him a chocolate cake, with a powdered sugar Batman symbol for decor, and we toasted many toasts with Mike’s Hard Lemonade. We've eaten delicious takeout breakfasts and had an impromptu beading party with friends and family in San Antonio. Most of us included the words “slumber party” in the first sentence we ever spoke. We will always appreciate our fortune in being able to relish a pastiche of parties and melange of meals enjoyed in good company. From catching a flight to NYC for a huge New Year’s celebration, to partying in New Orleans for no special reason at all, we have (collectively, separately and together) attended parties from one coast of North America to the other and (some of us) have partied in Africa and Europe, too.

Parties punctuate the seasons and celebrate the passage of time. A good party jazzes up an ordinary day (see footnote 6) and gives us a reason to grin.

footnote 1: Recipe for a perfect Swamp Rocket:
To a large mug or tumbler of freshly heated water, add two heaping teaspoons of Tang, The Drink of the Astronauts. Pour Midori into the Tang until it turns the color of split pea soup. This drink is guaranteed to warm you up nicely on a cold Colorado day. It's perfect for drinking while hanging out in front of a cozy fire, inside or out but tastes equally delish when enjoyed while sitting on your porch listening to early morning birdsong.

footnote 2: In your bathtub, place a nice thick layer of unbleached quilter’s cotton batting. Sprinkle vintage silver german glass glitter and confetti stars generously over the cotton. Fill to the top with white twinkle lights and you
will have some swell, facsimile snow lighting.

footnote 3: Sunday morning waffles, wine and bridge, aka The Church of the Sunday Social, were an early version of Tradition.

footnote 4: Instincts fostered by Tradition begin at an early age. Soon after we first began celebrating Tradition, Dante realized how much he loved it and lobbied for similar fare at every meal because it was “just like a feast!”

footnote 5: Vintage aprons and new wooden spoons make cool party favors.

footnote 6: A disco ball hanging in any room of one’s house, or in an office or studio space serves equally as an excellent party accessory or daily decor.

For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name,
There is Love, there is Love. Paul Stookey 1971

Friday, October 20, 2006

You're Invited

Here are the front (left) and back (right)
page I made
for The Creative Underground's
recipe swap book.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Have and Haven't, OR, Tagged by Denise

Naked as a newborn babe. . . here's me in 1954

Tagged by Denise. . .

taken a picture completely naked? of someone else. . .
danced in front of a mirror naked? umm. . .no. . .
told a lie? yes
had feelings for someone who didn't have them back? yes
been arrested? no
seen someone die? yes
kissed a picture? yes, but I think I did it for the dramatic effect
slept in until 5pm? no, but I surely want to
had sex at work? not at MY work, but yes if we're talking HIS
fallen asleep at work? yes
held a snake? yup more than one
ran a red light? on my bike?
been suspended from school? yes
pole danced? no
been fired from a job? not EXACTLY
sang karaoke? no
done something you told yourself you wouldn't? yes
laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? on a regular basis
laughed until you peed? not personally
caught a snowflake on your tongue? many
kissed in the rain? no, but I want to
had sex in the rain? yes, but we were inside!
sang in the shower? nope
gave your private parts a nickname? and again, no
ever gone to work without underwear? yes
sat on a rooftop? yes
played chicken? on my bike?
broken a bone? does one's thumb count?
flashed someone? yes
mooned someone? no
skinny dipped? yes
shaved your head? no, but I have a daughter who did
slept naked? yes
blacked out from drinking? yes
played a prank on someone? I am ashamed to admit it, but yes
had a gym membership? no, but I tagged along on someone else's
felt like killing someone? no
truly hated someone? strong, horrible emotion, but yes, again to my shame. . .
felt like smacking someone in the face? felt like and did
cried over someone you were in love with? oh my yes
had mexican jumping beans as pets? yes
been in a band? no, but I've been a groupie!
shot a gun? yes
shot a bow and arrow? yes
played strip poker? no, but I've played strip dreidl
donated blood? no
ever jump out of an airplane? no and have you ever heard the guys who work for those companies talk??? After I did, hear them I mean, I never will. . .
been to more than 10 countries? not yet

I tag erika t. and marie o.

Still more 1 x 1z . . .

1 x 1z . . . What in the world are they? Miniature square "collages" created for a swap based on the very cool "postage stamp" quilt pattern. And I only need to make 60 more. . .

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dancing in the Moonlight - The Rose-colored Velvet Love Seat, reprised

Play back the circumstances and events of my life; I harbor few regrets, and none daily. Not having stick-straight hair, nor a pinto pony or palomino, and the tragic loss of our rose-colored velvet love seat are the exceptions. Thank God for product and straightening irons, and yes, I MIGHT someday lasso a horse. As for the third, no remedy seems likely. We left it behind years ago, flying back to the desert, we gave it away to a friend. He was getting married and after all, a plane is not a boat. Unquestionably, through either miracles or hard work, heavier losses to other people have been overcome.

Details are what truly matter --- you know, it’s always the little things. Our lives hinge upon, and play out amid, exquisitely, often achingly felt, then remembered, touches, sights, smells. Acts of living are accomplished in scenes set upon stages we each craft to our particular muse.

Picture a city --- Chicago comes to my mind, but pick another if it suits you. It’s early summer, a fair number of years ago --- not too many, say 33, more or less. The neighborhood is mostly Puerto Rican, a little Creole. Radios through open windows inform us, sweetly --- and we can dance to it --- that we are the sunshine of Stevie Wonder’s life. Edgier unknowns are heard, too. Their fingers and lips interpret Hancock and Corea and mimic Muddy Waters, from within shadowed, though wide open, doorways. Platform shoes create a back-up rhythm and say “Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side.”

Think of a girl --- a pale young woman, a girl really, appears on the sidewalk, heading for a cross street further up Halsted from Cornelia. A bit bedraggled, generosity compels us to fashion her Bohemian. Filigreed opal earrings, camisole, sandals, and a long handmade skirt comprise her everyday costume. With a black gypsy scarf covered in enormous vintage roses holding back long, ever unruly hair, she’s like a kid from some Wild West version of Hester Street. Truth be told, the girl stopped here in this midwestern town, where Marshal Fields meets the lake shore, and took an available third floor walk-up. Coming from the clear blue heat of some years spent in New Mexico, she hadn’t the heart to continue further east where [at least the semblance of] prairie gave way to Indiana.

Imagine the hour --- earlier that day, on an especially roundabout way home from work, she had seen it, past the window box flowers and street reflection, just inside the junk shop door. Stepping inside she smiles and happily approaches the owner. It’s a good sign, she thinks, that no one bought it “in the meantime”. Two other pieces catch her eye. A little piano bench and botanical print (“Gurka vit.”) aren’t quite so dear; she schleps them home on the bus that afternoon.

A week or two later, she returns for the rose-colored velvet love seat, pays a second or third installment, pulls it out through the shop door and continues down the several blocks to her old brick apartment building. She stops occasionally to catch her breath, sits down on the love seat right there on the sidewalk. The wood trim of the arms and the feet have a nice, just-polished, sheen. It’s in perfect condition. People passing her admire it. That velvet is such a lovely shade of dusty rose --- just like the sky over the west mesa late in the afternoon, when the smells from everyone’s kitchens begin to mingle and entice. And really, it was SUCH a bargain, though of course she had had to scrimp some, and save.

At the foot of the steps in her building, the girl is momentarily distracted by the row of mailboxes. She can tell at a glance if there’s mail; she can see it through a slot. There’s something anyway; an eagerly awaited note from home, a plea, a prayer, a promise. She’ll come back downstairs for it later. On the 2nd floor, someone comes out to help her the rest of the way. His door closes on a room crowded with people, guitars, old women, music, glasses clinking and babies crying. Once the 3rd floor landing is attained, he heads back down and she pushes her vintage treasure into the apartment. A couple of panes in the bay window are open and there’s a light breeze off the lake. The apartment is nearly empty of household goods. Except for a borrowed radio, two enameled cereal bowls, a handful of silverware and small paring knife, a Baby Ben that keeps falling out a window onto the alley below, a few postcards (reproductions of Symbolist art) and a vintage photo postcard of a dancer, there’s really nothing.

The radio plays something new. At least, the girl thinks, I haven’t heard it before. Dancing in the Moonlight. Centered in the living room, the rose-colored velvet love seat looks perfect. The pretty botanical print of the fresh from a turn-of-the-century garden, Swedish cucumbers hangs to its left, and the little piano bench completes the tableau. She keeps walking back into the room to admire it as she runs a bath.

Good things, small packages: 20 1 x 1z